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Amazon CTO: Indian companies more tech savvy than peers

As chief technology officer of the $61-billion, 54-year-old Werner Vogels is responsible for driving technology services at the online retail company. In India, Amazon expects to work more closely with emerging ventures across the internet and online commerce sectors. In conversation with ET, he discussed the potential offered by growth in storage on the cloud and the opportunity it provides to set up new ventures. Edited Excerpts: 

How large a market does India offer for Amazon cloud services? 

Indian companies are more technically savvy than their peers elsewhere. Companies like Rediff, RedBus and Hungama have been using our web services even before the launch of the regional data centres in Singapore. RedBus developed its technology platform within six months; the CTO of the company will tell you that this was due to the advantages offered by cloud-based services. We have customers across the spectrum in media, life sciences and manufacturing in India. 

Which sectors are the most active in adopting cloud services? 

E-commerce is an area with a clear cyclical usage pattern. The customers either shop during the day or it is vice versa. In the past, companies had to buy more hardware to serve the peak periods. Now, by using cloud services, they can architect systems according to how many orders they are getting. It is not just a matter of reducing the capital expenses on hardware, but also the reduction in operational cost. We have a lot of customers in the ecommerce and internet technology areas. 

Is the low speed of broadband a hindrance to more companies adopting cloud services? 

We have customers in India with very different connectivity speeds. We've worked closely with them to look at what their paths are and talk to their internet service providers to use the most optimal routes. For example, ticket booking site RedBus, which accesses cloud services from our data centres in Singapore, offers similar speeds to its customers regardless of the geographical location. 

Is there a lot of apprehension about cloud security among Indian businesses? 

In the rest of the world, the concern about cloud security is largely disappearing. Security on the cloud is at least on par or even better than what enterprises can achieve in owned data centres often protected by only firewalls. Each company should always question whether security is good enough in its own premises or on the cloud. 

What are the next big opportunities that you see emerging from cloud-based technology? 

We at Amazon have always believed that storage will be a high-volume, lowmargin business. We have lowered pricing across various AWS Services more than 25 times in the past six years, without any competitive pressure. I think many of our customers would really enjoy it if indeed compute and storage become a commodity. That would allow us to drive the cost down even further. It is also easier for companies to expand into global markets by using cloud services so there is an opportunity to launch more new ventures.

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